Update on NJ Sex Abuse Lawsuit Time Limit Bill – State Senate to Vote Monday on Ending Statute of Limitations [POLL]
A couple of months ago, I wrote this blog
about the Assembly Judiciary Committee passing a bill that would do away with the statute of limitations on claims by sexual abuse victims against individuals and institutions.
As it stands now, if, God forbid, you were the victim of a sexual predator, you’d have 2 years from the time you realized you were victimized to file a civil lawsuit against either the individual or institution that did nothing about the alleged abuse.
The bill, which was sponsored by our good friend Senator Joe Vitale of Woodbridge, is now awaiting a vote in the State Senate.
The bill (S1651) would allow (the victims of childhood sexual abuse) unlimited time, and make institutions — including those in the nonprofit, religious and charity sectors — liable if they knew an employee was engaging in abuse and did nothing to stop it.
“It’s important to victims of child sex rape that they are provided with access to the courtroom in civil matters against those individuals or institutions who are culpable in their abuse,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex).
The legislation, which draws support from many childhood sexual abuse victims and is opposed by Catholic bishops, cleared committee in both the Senate and Assembly in the last legislative session but stalled before either house voted on it.
Its prospects are unclear in the Assembly, where an identical version passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee in June.
But Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) introduced competing legislation (A2681) that critics deride as too weak because it would apply to institutions and only lifts the statute of limitations on future cases of abuse.
I felt then, as I do today, that as the current statute of limitations is ridiculous (again- 2 years!); there really needs to be something more practical than no time limit at all.
After all, despite the “hang ‘em high” mentality we all seem to have; those who are being accused have the right to be able to defend themselves…and if there were to be no limit at all…those individuals might very well be dead and gone.
It would be likely that the flurry of lawsuits to be filed could very well be based on heresay.
Yes, I realize that to say that could very well be considered sacrilege in the wake of the Sandusky affair.
And as well intentioned the bill seems to be…it looks like it’s throwing a bone to the lawyers who stand to make a killing should this pass.
Don’t you feel a more reasonable statute of limitations would be in everyone’s best interest?
Come up with a figure….10 years, 20 years…but unlimited?